Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family It just makes me sick to my stomach

  • This topic has 7 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by vera.
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    My wife is always on her phone playing slots and looking for any  opportunity to get to a casino. We have had arguments about her obsession. It’s not like we are broke but living pay check to paycheck. In a few years it will be time to retire and crack our retirement nest egg. She has a bad habit but will not admit it. 

    I just feel it’s a waste of money.

    Should her behavior make me sick to my stomach or am I just over reacting?



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    Hi Paul

    It is understandable that you feel sick to the stomach but it is also good that you are asking questions. I hope you will keep asking.

    It is quite possible that your wife has an addiction to gamble but it is also important to understand that if she has, then she did not ask for it and she will hate owning it. To admit it, however, would be to accept it, which would bring up overwhelming feelings of guilt, fear and shame – denial is therefore common.

    The addiction to gamble is not a bad habit like biting your nails, there is no magic pill to take to stop it and there is no crystal ball for her to see what a gamble-free life can look like. I cannot tell you what to do Paul but I suggest that if you are telling her just to stop gambling then you are wasting your breath – if she could, she would.

    The good thing is that she can control her addiction and live a wonderful gamble-free life – if it was not possible, I would not be writing to you now. You could download the 20-Questions from the Gamblers Anonymous website and maybe she would see that her behaviour has a pattern and is recognised. There is lots of support for her when she is ready – she can find it in GA; here on this site or with dedicated addiction counsellors. We have a brilliant helpline, forum and gambler-only groups where she would be welcome.  The Helpline is one-to-one and as with the groups is private and safe;  every member is anonymous.

    I think it would be good if she knew that you had asked for support for you – most compulsive gamblers are unaware of the feeling of those around them. It is a selfish addiction but it is also a very lonely one.

    I agree with you that it is a waste of money but the addiction to gamble has nothing to do with money. Money is only a tool with which to indulge the addiction – the addiction is the ‘gamble’ itself.

    I hope you will keep posting because there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and ultimately your wife. Sadly you cannot save her, only she can do that but as I said earlier she can do it with courage, determination, guidance and understanding.

    Speak soon



    Thanks for the reply. 

    We have had arguments to the point we went weeks without speaking. We connected with a marriage counseler for a few weeks. It ended when the counselor said it’s up to me if I can accept her behavior. I thought we were on the road to recovery but last night was a sign we are in trouble again. 

    She wanted to take a “girls” trip with her sisters and they would be going to a town that has a casino close by. When I suggested I would tag along to go see my family it did not sit well with her. so my guess is she is casino bound. 

    I am just tired of it and ready to jump ship. I feel if she loved me she would quit. I don’t think that will ever happen. 

    Im scared because right now she is in charge of paying the bills and I’m scared to look at a bank statement for fear of what I will find. 


    Hi Paul,
    Just a very brief comment.
    If your wife is a Compulsive Gambler, as I am and is in charge of your finances, you have every reason to be scared to check the bank statements.
    My suggestion would be to tell your wife you would like to see those statements and don’t let her fob you off.
    Every gambler needs an enabler.
    My husband was my main enabler.
    Could you confide in a family member and arrange a mini non confrontational intervention?
    No smoke without fire.


    Hi Paul
    It seems to me that you have to bite the bullet and look at the bank statements. This is your money and your life too.
    The fact that she doesn’t appear to want to quit is not a reflection on her feelings for you, if she is addicted then her feelings cannot be fathomed. I believed that the compulsive gambler in my family hated me but when he took control of his addiction, I found that he did love me. I know how hard it is to be confused by the behaviour of a gambler but also know how hard it is to hang in.
    I don’t agree with any counsellor who says that you must accept the behaviour of a compulsive gambler – it suggests that he/she is unaware of addiction.
    Arguments get you nowhere Paul – they merely sap your energy.
    I would be lying Paul if I said that all outcomes are good for those who love compulsive gamblers but if you love your wife then start now as you mean to carry on. You have every right to check the bank statements as Vera has written. If you love your wife then a confrontational-intervention may help, they do work for many.


    Thanks Vera and Velvet for the response. We live in a city with only one family member, her sister. She is her gambling partner. I have only told my brother and he said I had too much invested in the marriage and to let her have her times at the casino. 

    We got in anohter fight last night and she tells me that I worry too much about money. After we went to bed I got to thinking, I do worry about money and her losing it in a slot machine. That’s my worry. Next month we will be married 34 years, if we make it that far. I will always love her, but right now I am ready to call it quits. Split everything down the middle and walk away. I am tired of all the stress and auguring.

    Thanks again for listening and allowing me to vent.



    …is a long time, Paul. Walking away is not the solution to your wife’s gambling problem. I’m telling you honestly, if my husband had done what you are considering, in the throes of my gambling, it would have given me exactly what I desired-lots of money and a great excuse to continue self destructing. I’m glad it didn’t pan out that way.

    I’m even longer married than you, Paul.

    Gambling is not about money. It’s an emotional problem. 

    I suggest you try GAMANON and the Live chats here in F and F, where you will meet others who are sick to the stomach of “Significant Others’ gambling.

    Sit tight and lock down ALL your funds, property and valuables.

    Money is merely ammunition for a CG. Keep communication lines open.

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